The March ‘Lion’ shows up with a winter storm; closed schools

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Minnesota was hit by a major winter storm Monday and into Tuesday, giving the area another big dose of snow.  Schools throughout the state were called off Monday and most also had a late start, Tuesday.

“In like a lion, out like a lamb.” It is one of the most well known of weather proverbs. We can only hope the adage is true.

Monday schools closed throughout much of Minnesota as a winter storm moved across the state. It started with rain and sleet late Sunday. Rains, sleet and snow hit the area Monday, creating treacherous driving conditions.

March started with the first two days seeing the low fall to a minus 2 degrees bringing the total number of below zero days this winter season to 41. That is more than both the past two winter seasons combined. There were only 21 in the winter of 2016-17 and just 14 in the winter of 2015-16. Our 41 days of Arctic cold this winter is seven more than the average of 34.

Neither March 2016 nor March 2017 saw a below zero day. But frigid temperatures in March are not uncommon as winter can linger. The Benson area has seen the temperature fall below zero all the way up to March 31 when it fell to a minus 3 degrees in 1969.

February 2018 saw the second most below zero days of any February recorded locally since records started being kept in 1953 with 17. February 2014 holds the record with 21.

Saturday saw the high reach 41 and the low only fall to 32 – one degree away from the record high low of 33 degrees set in 1986. Sunday morning the temperature held steady at 37 degrees.

But the warm temperatures were just a set up for a winter storm that moved into western Minnesota Sunday night and continued into Tuesday morning.

Weather during the first two weeks of March can be extremely unpredictable. It can see highs near 70 degrees or lows of a minus 17 degrees. It can see rainstorms or blinding blizzards. Just last year, the temperature March 6 hit 73 degrees breaking the old record of 71 from 2000.

Some of the more memorable winter storms have hit the region during the Minnesota State High School Basketball Tournament, in the middle of the month.

March 14-16, 1941, a powerful blizzard struck western Minnesota with 60 to 85 mph winds and heavy snow. Thirty-two deaths were blamed on the storm. March 4, 1997, western Minnesota saw the sixth blizzard of the 1996-1997 winter season....

 

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Pictured: Minnesota was hit by a major winter storm Monday and into Tuesday, giving the area another big dose of snow.  Schools throughout the state were called off Monday and most also had a late start, Tuesday.

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